Darius Garland has not gotten off to the greatest of starts this season. 16 games into the campaign for him, he's had some ups and downs, and there have been some rough outings for him.
He has had some big games, but there have been some mute points when it pertains to Garland's play, namely his playmaking splits and his three-point shooting.
He has had 19.7 points per outing, which has been fine, and he has found ways to generate free throws, and has still initiated his share of productive ball-swings. His chemistry with others should get better as well, which will help.
That said, Garland has hit only 32.9 percent of his three-point shot attempts through 16 games, and has attempted 4.8 threes per outing. Both of those marks are not what one has come to expect from Garland, who is one of the Cavaliers' top shooters and scorers, and in relation to his playmaking, Garland has had issues with turnovers. He's had 4.0 turnovers per game so far this season.
Some of those problems can be attributed to Garland having dealt with a hamstring strain earlier in the season dating back to training camp/the preseason, and other guys being injured at various points. This isn't absolving Garland for being inconsistent, but when it comes to both areas, involving his splits and the turnovers, J.B. Bickerstaff did have fair takes for that from Garland in recent media availability on Tuesday.
Bickerstaff's takes were reasonable regarding Garland's reduced output for the Cavaliers, and his turnover dilemma early on.
Garland has to clean up some of his turnovers, as many, including Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid above, have alluded to numerous times throughout the opening quarter of the 2023-24 season. Garland's turnover rate has been a problem, as he essentially touched on in media availability himself, and Bickerstaff did as well, as Dammarell emphasized.
Having said that, though, with Garland having the ball in his hands and making plays for others so often, there are going to be some giveaways. And it's been worth noting how the aggressive turnovers where he's been trying to make things happen haven't been necessarily as worrisome, to echo Bickerstaff's sentiment.
Further, as Garland has begun to settle in and he's gotten healthy, his timing as a passer has improved. With those things in mind and his rhythm being there more as the season has worn on, and with Cleveland prioritizing ball and man movement, there should be an uptick in production from Garland, and naturally, his playmaking splits should increase.
Pertaining to Garland's giveaways, that's something to keep monitoring, and the shot has to come around, however, he has definitely started to pick things up, and the real DG should be showing up more consistently. In his last eight games, Garland has posted 19.8 points and 6.4 assists per game, and has had an average plus-minus of plus-4.3.
Along with Donovan Mitchell, Garland's play was one of the key reasons for the Cavaliers earning an impressive win over one of the league's biggest surprises in the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. In that 121-111 victory, Garland had 26 points, to go with along with nine assists and zero turnovers.
Garland was making quick decisions, was continually assertive, and his downhill play led to him registering five throw attempts, all of which he cashed in on. In that last win over the Magic, Garland was only one-of-four from three, but he shot nine-of-14 from two-point range, and his decision-making and urgency was crucial throughout the game. It was good to see both Mitchell and Garland have their imprint all over the contest versus a quality Orlando club on the rise.
While Garland's scoring might be down a touch when it's all said and done this season, with the key contributors involved and others such as Max and Georges Niang getting going, Garland will still have a profound team impact.
As Garland becomes more and more comfortable with the new guys, and with Mitchell, as he's beginning to show, there should be less instances where he's forcing things, and there should be less flurries of bad turnovers from game-to-game.
Limited turnovers will be a point of emphasis for Garland, but if there are less unforced errors, that'll go a long way, with all that he does for Cleveland, especially as a downhill player. And if keeps being aggressive, with his range and movement feel, the deep balls should drop more for Garland, if he doesn't hesitate.